Sunday, February 28, 2016

Let's Get Physical

I've been slammed with work for a couple of weeks so I have been neglecting this page... thankfully no one important has died during that time, setting the new 2016 record for Most Days Without A Dead Music God at a whopping 13. Maybe we can make it to March funeral free, who knows?
Today is a special day, as it is the 41st anniversary of 1) the release of Led Zeppelin's masterful Physical Graffiti LP, and 2) this face-frying concert from Baton Rouge, Louisiana. 
Just look at those strutting rock stars strut, can you feel the 1970s vibe snaking into your listening lair like a lava lamp on 'ludes? Wait'll you Zeppelin aficionados wrap your codpieces around this 3-hour dose of British Blues Rock bombast, boy oh boy.
This tour is sort of infamous because Robert Plant shredded his voice halfway through the first week of it, giving a hit-or-miss quality to whether anything resembling it was going to emerge from his mouth when he opened it onstage in 1975. Fortunately for us, this Baton Rouge set is both the best recorded one of the tour and also one where dude is able to sing the songs with a degree of vocal integrity and without bleeding.
It circulated for years as a pretty awesome complete performance, but then an even better version of the same tape surfaced a few years ago that sounds like the reel masters to me. This tour was taped on cassettes off the desk by the band so decent dubs of most of the shows exist.
It sounds like it could have been recorded for radio broadcast -- possibly by the BBC? -- and might've been scrapped or never aired because of the slight sound problems at the start of the first song. I have no idea, but it's pretty pristinely captured and it sure doesn't originate from a cassette deck. This has to be from reels and sounds, as I said, like it could be a lost pre-FM from the vaults.
This comes from a bootleg 3CD joint on the Empress Valley imprint called Rampaging Cajun, which I slightly adjusted in a couple of places. I made the transition from CD2 to CD3 less abrupt on the fade out and smoothed out the levels of the first few seconds of the music on CD1, where the bass comes in distorted and the soundman immediately straightens out the mix. Once he does (about 14 seconds in) this fucker really pops, and is as beastly an example as any I've ever heard of this legendary group in full flight.
Led Zeppelin
Assembly Center
Louisiana State University
Baton Rouge, Louisiana

01 Rock and Roll
02 Sick Again
03 Over the Hills and Far Away
04 In My Time of Dying
05 The Song Remains the Same
06 The Rain Song
07 Kashmir

01 No Quarter
02 Trampled Underfoot
03 Moby Dick

01 Dazed and Confused
02 Stairway to Heaven
03 Whole Lotta Love
04 Black Dog

Total time: 2:47:13

Robert Plant - vocals and percussion
Jimmy Page - guitars and effects
John Paul Jones - basses, Mellotron M400, custom Steinway electric piano, Hohner Clavinet
John Bonham - drums

master soundboard reels, from "Rampaging Cajun," a 3CD bootleg on the Empress Valley label, ever so slightly tweaked by me
I am still overwhelmed with work stuff but it should get lighter in March, so I promise to post more than once in the whole 31 days. Please do enjoy this anniversary special from 41 years ago at top volume and I will return soon with yet more musical mayhem from the masters, count on it!--J.

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